22 Feb 2021

Austria: WAVE Water World in Wörgl at Disposition?

The WAVE Water World in Wörgl (Austrian Tyrol region) is subject to political discussions about a possible demolition – thousands of citizens are mobilizing themselves in order to secure their favorite bathing complex, which has a wide catchment area including Bavaria and the Achensee region.

The water adventure world opened in 2003 and after less than two years of operation was hit by a devastating flood in the summer of 2005. Only five months after the flooding and great efforts and expenses, the bathing complex reopened its doors with even better facilities and new attractions such as a brine bath. In 2010, “L2”, the world’s first double-looping water slide, was launched as another visitor magnet. A swimming hall with a 25-meter sports pool, a wave pool, the two loops, several outdoor pools and a spacious sauna landscape – at the WAVE, all this comes together under one roof. Not only locals appreciate this large-scale offer, but also guests from afar.

Several months ago, it became known that the city of Wörgl was discussing the closure and demolition of the bathing complex. Thousands of citizens started initiatives such as a petition in order to prevent the realization of this plans. They expect the Wörgl City Council to seriously consider the preservation of the WAVE and to work out a sustainable financing concept. “Since 2017, we have been working on a comprehensive investment plan for a period of around 20 years, which of course also includes ongoing refurbishment needs. Naturally, we’ve also had some challenging months due to the Covid-related closure, so that our plans stalled last year,” says the WAVE’s managing director, Andreas Ramsauer.

The city of Wörgl emphasizes that “numerous visible defects and damages lead to expected refurbishment costs of 10 million euros and more.” Such high investment costs for renovation measures of a swimming pool are not justifiable against the background of other municipally necessary measures, such as school or kindergarten construction works, explains Mag. Andreas Madersbacher, press spokesman of the city of Wörgl to EAP one day before the municipal council meeting.

On February 18, the Wörgl council met to vote on the fate of the WAVE. With the votes of all factions represented on the council, a referendum was approved as next step as suggested by the city’s Mayor Hedi Wechner. The referendum must be carried out within eight weeks. According to the Tyrolean municipal code, such a referendum is not binding for the decision-makers on the part of the city, but Mayor Hedi Wechner emphasized that it would be binding with a simple majority if 70 percent of those eligible to vote took part.

A decision on the fate of the Wörgl Water World has therefore not yet been made. After all, 50 jobs hang on the water experience world, which is to simply be torn off after the will of the policy after only 18 years … On our request after the reason for such a rigorous and far-reaching measure, the municipality speaks again and again of a “dilapidated condition” of the venue, the modernization of which threatens to devour millions. However, the municipality is very much prepared “to consider a new regional swimming pool option in Wörgl in cooperation with other municipalities in the region, the tourism associations and the state of Tyrol. On our question, what should happen with the property after a demolition of the bathing complex, there is – says Madersbacher – still no decision made, except that the plot of land would be granted for commercial use again. (eap)